Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a name that everyone associates with Manchester United’s success from 1999, when he scored in the stoppage time against Bayern Munich. The striker from Norway played many years on ‘Old Trafford’ but very few times as a first choice player. Mostly, he entered and decided many games in the final minutes. This brought him the nick name of ‘killer’ and alongside his appearance, Solskjaer became ‘baby face killer’. In Romania we can say that also exist a case, in which a player can be named ‘baby face’. Yes, Nicolae Grigore from Rapid Bucharest, looks just like a child, despite having 29 years. But to associate the name ‘killer’ to this nick looked kind of unusual. He plays as a defensive midfielder and normally scores very rarely. Not to say decisive goals, which surely must have been only pure hazard. Yes, all of those mentioned are true. But until 2011! In only 15 months, Grigore scored 12 goals for Rapid in official matches, most of them being key goals!
Born on 19th of July 1983, at Buftea, near Bucharest, Grigore arrived at Rapid in 2000 and made his debut in the first league on 16th of May 2001, in an encounter against Steaua ended 1-1. After he was loaned to Electromagnetica, but in the 2002-2003 he took part from the team which won the fourth championship from the history of Rapid. He didn’t play much, only 15 games, in which he was mainly on the bench until the late minutes of the second half, but a 19 years youngster couldn’t ask for more. He didn’t appear in too many matches also in the next three seasons, but at least, in the 2004-2005 competitive year he put in his first goals in the top flight. The 2006-2007 became the most prolific from his career as he scored in six occasions, including once against Steaua, in 1-1 draw on ‘Lia Manoliu’ stadium. After nine seasons at the club, he was sold to FC Braşov, team at which he was loaned before, for a half of a season. This time he was send there for good. It happened in mid 2009. After 131 matches and 13 goals, Grigore was sold at a low price, despite having only 26 years.
Nicolae played so well there, that forced the officials from Rapid to realize and recognize their mistake and take him back after only a year. In the 2010-2011 season he impose as a starter also at Rapid and even scored once, in a 1-1 draw against FCM Targu Mures, in the last match days of the season. But what follow, jumped every expectation. In only a season, Grigore scored seven goals, from which six were decisive: at Wroclaw, at Vaslui, home against Vaslui in the Cup, with Steaua, at Ploiesti and last, but not least, in front of Pandurii, in a 2-2 that didn’t count anyway. Regarding all this performances, it seemed like Grigore pass through his best season ever, but what happens right now is effectively stunning! The midfielder had some medical problems in this beginning of the season and didn’t appear in all nine matches, but he found the time to score four goals!!! One in European Cups, in the first match, against MyPa, and three in the championship. He brought a point from Galati, with a late equalizer and all three against CFR with his first ‘double’ ever! And what an extraordinary match that was! With CFR leading 2-0 at half time and playing with an extra man, Rapid came back powerful. A goal of Ilijoski and later a penalty kick and another goal from Nicolae, which entered at half time!!
Hopefully, he will continue to play like this and reach at least 20 goals! A great player and also a great person, who prefers to read books when he is away with the team, than to stay and loose time on a laptop or with other such devices. A former roommate of Mihai Nesu, at junior level, the midfielder was also congratulated, on twitter, by the former defender of Utrecht. In such moments, most players became more euphoric than necessary and decrease their form. But not Grigore, who, I am sure, will continue to play the same manner and will score continuously important goals. Piturca also noticed his great value and called him for the last actions of the national team. And he must became a starter alongside Costin Lazar!